BIGSOUND should be renamed; big doesn't even come close to describing the scale of this event — even massive is only a little better.
As soon as I set foot in the Valley I could feel the excitement in the air, and I doubt there are few groups of people who know how to get loose better than music industry types after a long day conferencing.
First up were Kingfisha, performing at one of BIGSOUND’s few outdoor venues, Bakery Lane. Despite the sun having only just set a mere two hours prior, Kingfisha's psych-reggae swing was already moving people’s feet. The vibe in the place was perfectly summed up by their keyboardist’s' ‘Meat Is Murder’ shirt — chilled.
Following that, we skipped over to Alhambra to catch Grey Ghost and Gung Ho, the former producing some pretty cool 'post-rap' (as it's apparently called), and the latter playing one of the best sets of the night.
I've seen Gung Ho in the venue a few times before, but on this occasion they really turned up the heat, and their reverb laden, skater-chill, jangle pop shimmered brighter than ever.
Then Electric Playground was the venue, and Millions the band. Millions were obviously conscious of creating an impression, because they're matching black suits were sharp and their performance was particularly focused and impressive — they'd come with a game plan. Their Triple J played songs made an otherwise stagnant crowd sway slightly. But to be honest Millions deserved better — they deserved a crowd like Gizzard...
Undoubtedly the highlight of the night were Melbourne's King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Their psych-rock stomp managed to whip the crowd into a frenzy within minutes of turning their amps on (full volume of course).
An extreme lack of security also enabled the rabid audience to divulge into stage diving.
The night was wild, and tonight promises (threatens) to be even wilder. So it's time to shake off this hangover and get back out to sample what other great, young bands have to offer.
I arrived at Electric Playground for the beginning of the first night of BIGSOUND Live and caught the end of Money For Rope before Boy In A Box took to the stage, lead singer and guitarist Tobias Priddle sans shoes; perhaps due to all the beer — the guys admitted to have been drinking since earlier that day.
Shoes or no shoes their energetic pop rock set can be summed up by the slogan across Priddle’s shirt: ‘Shit Fucking Yeah’. The audience immediately recognised the drum and guitar riff into radio hit ‘Moon Comes Up’ and continued dancing into another familiar favourite, ‘On My Mind’.
Having only heard a couple of their tracks I was looking forward to seeing Gung Ho. Instrumentally you cannot fault them, they’re talented musicians and their set was tight. ‘Twin Rays’ was a highlight of the set and their newer songs have a similar blend of surf rock. The performance as a whole though was somewhat lacklustre and the audience wasn’t really getting into it, everyone hung back from the stage until guitarist Michael McAlary encouraged them to move forward.
From there I arrived at The Zoo to an already packed venue for Ball Park Music. “Let’s play some fucking music” were the first words out of Sam Cromack’s mouth before they launched into their opening number.
We were treated to the first live performance of the first song from their new album ‘Museum’, ‘Fence Sitter’, before the band went back in time and played ‘iFly (I Fucking Love You)’, for which Cromack relinquished his guitar and danced like only he can.
Safe to say everyone in that room fucking loved Ball Park Music. You couldn’t wipe the smile off Jennifer Boyce’s face as the crowd sang along to their ridiculously catchy tunes.
The performances from night one were just a sample of some of the great bands Australia has going on and I can’t wait to see what the second night has to offer.
Photos: Lachlan Douglas & Stephen Sloggett